G.R. No. 98027 October 7, 1994
JOSE A. ABAYA, ANICETO O. CADA, JR., PRESIDIO M. CARINO, AIDA D. FULGENCIO, ERNESTO G. GARCIA, BONIFACIO S. MOLINA, REMIGIO P. PUGAT and DOMINGO C. TOBIAS, Petitioners, v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, HON. SENEN D. BACANI in his capacity as SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, and DANTE Q. BARBOSA in his capacity as CHAIRMAN, REORGANIZATION APPEALS BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Respondent.
JUAN BERGONIO, PORFIRIO ALMOJERA, WARINA PEROS, ANGEL TAWATAO, JR., NAPOLEON TUGADE, DIOSDADO CAASI, ALFREDO CASIMERO, DOMINADOR MARRA, MARIO BUCAT AND LILIA TOLETE,intervenors.
Armando G. Mislang, Sr. for Bonifacio Molina.
Petitioners were employees of the Department of Agriculture in the Province of Pangasinan when on 30 January 1987 then President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order No. 116 reorganizing the Department. 1 Jose Abaya, Aniceto O. Cada, Jr., Presidio M. Cariño and Ernesto J. Garcia were Municipal Agriculture and Food Officers (MAFO's), while petitioners Aida Fulgencio, 2 Bonifacio S. Molina, 3 Remigio Pugat 4 and Domingo C. Tobias 5 were occupying lower positions.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
In the reorganization, the position of MAFO was abolished and replaced with Municipal Agricultural Officer (MAO). Former MAFO's did not automatically become MAO's. Pursuant to Memorandum Circular No. 7 issued in October 1987, 6 only those who took the evaluation examination and qualified to the Personnel Placement List (PPL) were considered for MAO positions.
However aspirants who failed to qualify, hence were not appointed, lodged a protest with the Reorganization Appeals Board (RAB), 8 so that a second evaluation was conducted on 7 November 1988. 9 After considering the documents submitted by the protestants and the result of the second evaluation, the RAB issued Resolution No. 17 dated 7 November 1988 modifying the ranking of the MAO's in the PPL which resulted in the exclusion of petitioners Abaya, Cada and Fulgencio from the PPL and in their ouster as MAO's.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Petitioners Jose Abaya, Aniceto Cada, and other aggrieved parties who are not petitioners herein, 10 filed a petition dated 30 January 1989 for
Petitioners appealed the RAB orders to the Civil Service Commission, 12 but on 28 September 1990 their appeal was dismissed for lack of merit. Their motion for reconsideration was also denied on 8 February 1991; hence, this petition for certiorari.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On 22 October 1991, several incumbent MAO's 13 whose rankings were upheld by the RAB and the Commission filed a motion to intervene "so as to clothe them with personality to move (a) for dismissal of the above-entitled case and Civil Case No. D-9953, and (b) for contempt on the ground of forum shopping." 14 In their Comment, 15 Rejoinder 16 and Memorandum, 17 movant-intervenors assumed another stance in praying that "petitioners namely Jose Abaya, Aniceto O. Cada, Jr., Presidio M. Cariño and Ernesto J. Garcia, the
It may be recalled that the reorganization of the Department of Agriculture was challenged in the consolidated cases of Bustamante v. Dominguez, 18 and Dominguez v. Ligot-Telan, 19 where we ordered the reinstatement of petitioners and private respondents therein, respectively, to their former positions or positions of comparable rank in the reorganized department without loss of seniority rights except, in the latter case, of those who retired or opted to be phased out and who have received their separation and retirement benefits.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
In Pari-an v. Civil Service Commission, 20 we had occasion to discuss Memorandum Circular No. 4 issued by the Department of Agriculture dated
The case at bench is on all fours with Pari-an and Sison; accordingly, petitioners should be returned to the positions equivalent to what they held before the reorganization. This means that former MAFO's, namely, Jose Abaya, Aniceto O. Cada, Jr., Presidio M. Cariño and Ernesto J. Garcia should be appointed MAO's as prayed for by movant-intervenors in their succeeding pleadings. The rest should be properly reverted to their positions prior to the reorganization or their equivalent.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
However, only petitioner Molina could be deemed to have pursued his case to the end hence entitled to a decision on the merits. Incidentally, all petitioners failed to file their memoranda so that they were required to explain to the Court why not disciplinary action should be taken against them for such inaction. 24 Only Molina and Cariño filed their memorandum although the latter subsequently withdrew as petitioner. 25chanrobles virtual law library
Meanwhile, on 1 April 1993 Cada was reappointed MAO in the Municipality of San Quintin, Pangasinan, due to devolution of functions under the new Local Government Code. 26 Although he prays for a decision in his favor, his reappointment to the same position, albeit by a different appointing authority due to devolution, constitutes a reconsideration of the previous objection to his appointment. Accordingly, the petition is already moot as to him.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Petitioner Abaya has never been heard of since the filing of the
But on the issues alone raised by Molina, independently of Pari-an and Sison, the petition must fail. Molina does not challenge the whole reorganization but only the orders dislodging him from the PPL. This is understandable because annulment of the reorganization would restore him to an equivalent position he held prior to the reorganization which was lower than MAO or MAFO. He alleges that the RAB committed grave abuse of discretion in altering the ranking in the PPL since the same criteria were used in the first and subsequent evaluations, and the RAB was essentially composed of the same members. He questions the dramatic climb in the ranking of particular persons who eventually dislodged him from the PPL, despite the fact that they were disqualified from the first ranking. He particularly mentions the case of Alexander Alcantara who was given the maximum 15% relevant experience despite being an AFT, 32 hence, failed to qualify with the salary range requirement, and Ernesto de Sola who lacked supervisory and managerial experience but had the proper connections.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Molina miserably failed to show bad faith on the actuations of the RAB. In the case at bar, what he considers as evidence of bad faith is the substantial advance in the ranking of protestants who were disqualified in the initial evaluation. But this fact in itself does not constitute bad faith, as it has been shown that the re-ranking came as a result of the late submission of authenticated documents by some aspirants. Hence, notwithstanding the similarity of the criteria and the composition of the reviewing board, it is not at all improbable for the RAB to alter its findings.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Molina also ascribes grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondent Commission when it sustained the RAB despite omission on its part and Undersecretary Barbosa to file their own comment. He also faults the Commission for deciding his appeal beyond the period allowed by law.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Failure of respondents RAB and Undersecretary Barbosa to file their comment with the Commission, or the fact that the Commission rendered the decision beyond the statutory period, does not result in a reversal. Although delay is not countenanced, this cannot be a valid basis for granting the instant petition.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Incidentally, it was Molina's station in San Fabian, Pangasinan, where we directed Sison in G.R. No. 97180 to be reinstated.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
There being sufficient basis to resolve the petition, we need not go into other matters directly or indirectly raised therein.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
As regards intervenors, by moving solely for the purpose of seeking the dismissal of the case as well as Civil Case No. D-9953, and to cite petitioners for contempt for forum shopping, they cannot claim any affirmative relief hereunder.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and the motion to intervene is DENIED.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ., cincur.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Feliciano, Padilla and Bidin, JJ., are on leave.chanrobles virtual law library
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